Several Tribes across Southern Oregon and Northern California have expressed their opposition to the passing of a bill that would allow the Coquille casino in Medford to be built. This Council Bill was passed last Thursday night by Oregon lawmakers.
Back in 2013, the city council passed Resolution 2013-68, which declared a position of opposition to the Coquille Indian Tribe’s fee-to-trust application in the US. It seems that, following last week’s decision, it has reversed this policy position.
The council voted 5-3 to allow a prospective casino in Medford. For the last decade, the Coquille Tribe has attempted to build its Medford casino, which it says would be used to help their Tribe, along with creating new jobs and revenue for the city.
The Cow Creek, Karuk and Klamath Tribes informed a local Oregon news outlet that they implored the city council to maintain a status of opposition. All three tribes rely heavily on the business generated by those that travel to their casinos from Medford and the surrounding Jackson County communities.
The council’s decision does not have the final say on the approval or denial of the proposed casino, as the federal government will make the decision. However, the opposing Tribes still believe the council's position will hugely influence the federal agency’s decision.
Klamath Tribe Chairman Clay Dumont commented: “I don't want to speak for the (Bureau of Indian Affairs) or the City of Medford, but I'm sure it will be something that the BIA would consider when they make their decision.”
Cow Creek spokesperson commented: “Our casino would lose 25% of our profit and that's being conservative. We figure it will be much, much more. It'd mean a loss of jobs for not only Tribal citizens but for a lot of Oregonians.
“It would mean we would have a huge funding deficit for our tribal programs, which supports our education, healthcare, housing and elder support."